“Made in Germany”: The Volkwagen Emissions Scandal (2015)


The Volkswagen emissions scandal of 2015 thoroughly tarnished the reputation of that quintessentially “German” company before proceeding to damage the image of other German car manufacturers as well. Thereafter, criticism of Germany’s path to economic dominance reached a fever pitch. The perceived hypocrisy of German car manufacturers claiming to be environmentally friendly, on the one hand, while endangering public health, on the other, was a blow to Germany’s overall image. “Made in Germany” was seriously undermined by the VW emissions scandals, as well as other scandals involving bribes, infrastructure failures (e.g., long delays in the construction of Berlin-Brandenburg International Airport), and certain too-cozy relationships between company boards, politicians, and labor leaders.

The following cartoon by Klaus Stuttmann appeared in the September 22, 2015, edition of Tagesspiegel, a Berlin-based daily newspaper. Entitled “Deutsche Wertarbeit” [“ German Craftsmanship”], it shows the words “Made in Germany” being spewed out of a Volkswagen in a black cloud of emissions.


Source: Cartoon: “Deutsche Wertarbeit” [“German Craftsmanship”], by Klaus Stuttmann, Tagesspiegel, September 22, 2015.  Available online at: https://www.tagesspiegel.de/wirtschaft/newsblog-zum-abgas-skandal-bei-volkswagen-vw-chef-martin-winterkorn-will-nicht-zuruecktreten/12351882.html

© Klaus Stuttmann, published with permission

“Made in Germany”: The Volkwagen Emissions Scandal (2015), published in: German History Intersections, <https://germanhistory-intersections.org/en/germanness/ghis:image-280> [November 29, 2023].